The City of a Thousand Ghosts

In 2003 the Ghost Research Foundation International (GRFI) conducted intensive research into haunted places around the world and named the city of York in England the most haunted city in the world. In the field of the paranormal this is an impressive honor. However, it is not surprising that York was selected since it has often been referred to as The City of a Thousand Ghosts.

One of the York’s most famous ghostly encounters happened in 1953 at The Treasurer’s House. Apprentice plumber Harry Martindale was working alone in the cellar when he heard the sound of a trumpet. Harry turned around and saw a platoon of Roman soldiers, some of them on horseback, march out of one of the walls, across the floor, and then vanish into the opposite wall.

Harry Martindale is not the only person to have seen these spectral soldiers. These ghostly, ancient Romans have been witnessed by many other people, and not just in the cellar of the Treasurer’s House. In other cellars throughout the city the ghost Roman legion have appeared and vanish just as mysteriously. Although the idea of ghostly soldiers marching beneath the streets of York might seem strange. These paranormal sights make more sense when you realize that the present day ground level is much higher than it used to be. York has been built up over the centuries. The ghostly soldiers are, in fact, still marching on streets as they used to be during the time Rome ruled this part of England.

These wandering subterranean soldiers have also been known to put in an appearance in the cellars of the pub and inn called ‘The Golden Fleece‘, believed to be York’s most haunted inn. The ghost of Lady Peckett wanders the corridors of ‘The Golden Fleece’. More than once there have been reports of a ghost who appears to be a Canadian airman who haunts the sidwalk just outside the pub.

Inside the ‘The Golden Fleece’ are two bars: One on street level and another upstairs. The downstairs bar is the favorite haunt of a pistol carrying spirit nick-named One Eyed Jack, whose manner of dress appears to date from the 16th or 17th century. The upstairs bar is said to be the haunt of a grumpy old man who appears to visitors in the alcoves.

The upstairs bar is also haunted by the ghost of a youth who was trampled to death by a horse in Victorian times. Kitchen help have repeatedly reported the appearance of a mysterious young girl who walks out of one wall in the kichen and exits through another wall. Candles have been known to light themselves. Furniture moves about of its own accord. It’s no wonder that ‘The Golden Fleece’ is considered to be York’s most haunted inn. Due to so much paranormal activity the inn even offers a weekly ghost tour.

The cellers of ‘Ye Olde Starre Inn’ of York is another location where mysterious soilders has been sighted. In this case, however, the soldiers are not Romans, but Royalists. During the English Civil War the celler of ‘Ye Olde Starre Inn’ was used as a makeshift hospital. Every now and then people still claim to hear the screams of the sick and dying soldiers. A woman in black is known to haunt the staircase. The spirits of two black cats are said to roam the bar area.

According to local legend the ghost catsof ‘Ye Olde Starre Inn’ were bricked up inside the pillar that stands between the bar and the door, as a means of protecting the establishment from bad luck. Such barbaric rituals used to be common practice decades ago in the region, so there could be some truth in the story. Further evidence of these ghostly black cat’s and the legend of the pillar is suggested by the fact that many a visitor has brought their dog into the inn. Some dogs have been reported to bear their fangs and snarl at the pillar. One dog even sprang at the pillar and knocked itself out.

The reports of York’s ghost activity occurs from one end of the city to the other. It is indeed a ghost hunters paradise and well deserves the Ghost Research Foundation International’s title of The Most Haunted City.

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